What causes crav­ings and how do I con­trol them?


14 common ques­tions about bant­ing

Q: What causes crav­ings and how do I con­trol them?

A: High carb di­ets fuel crav­ings, hunger and sugar ad­dic­tion by af­fect­ing our appe­s­tat. We don’t know ex­actly how it works – but the LCHF diet com­pletely re­pro­grammes it and hunger dis­ap­pears. My hunger dis­ap­peared com­pletely within a week of start­ing to eat this way and it gets less and less the longer I eat this way. It’s as­ton­ish­ing! The brain be­comes com­pletely re­ori­en­tated to the way it should be – like it was when we were hunter-gath­er­ers a cou­ple of mil­lion years ago – and ev­ery­thing works again: all the feed­back mech­a­nisms and hor­mones work cor­rectly and you feel full very quickly.

Q: Why have our ap­petites be­come such a prob­lem?

A: I think it’s be­cause we made food highly ad­dic­tive. Peo­ple with PhDs in taste, hunger and bliss point are tasked with mak­ing food ir­re­sistible. We took fat out – fat plus pro­tein is a nat­u­ral ap­petite sup­pres­sant – and we re­placed it with car­bo­hy­drate sugar which is an ap­petite stim­u­lant. Our ap­petites need re­pro­gram­ming, which is what the LCHF diet does.

Q: If you’re eat­ing LCHF but buy­ing com­mer­cial rather than pas­ture-reared meat and dairy, are you wast­ing money?

A: No, be­cause it’s still bet­ter than eat­ing re­fined car­bo­hy­drates. It will im­prove your health, but ul­ti­mately you do need to im­prove the qual­ity of the meat and dairy you’re eat­ing – keep it pas­ture-reared and or­ganic. Con­sumers de­ter­mine what re­tail­ers sell so if we stop spend­ing money on cheap pro­cessed food and start spend­ing it on healthy grass-fed pro­duce, things will change. We have to support the farm­ers who are pro­duc­ing the health­i­est foods.


A: You can mea­sure var­i­ous in­flam­ma­tory mark­ers but we don’t mea­sure the best ones yet. If the C-re­ac­tive pro­tein (CRP) is present, you’ve got some in­flam­ma­tion. My opin­ion is that in­flam­ma­tion is largely driven by a wheat al­lergy in the gut. The gut then leaks and for­eign pro­teins get in and cause an in­flam­ma­tory re­sponse. If you have in­flam­ma­tion, it means your gut is not se­cure and you’ve got what we call a leaky gut. Most of us are wheat in­tol­er­ant – we don’t ex­press it as a dis­ease, rather as chronic ill health.

We have to support the farm­ers who are pro­duc­ing the health­i­est foods.

Q: Is it worse if you try to bant and then go back to eat­ing car­bo­hy­drates?

A: Yes. We don’t know why, but ev­ery time peo­ple yoyo diet, they tend to be­come heav­ier. So doc­tors who rec­om­mend bant­ing as a type of crash diet un­for­tu­nately don’t un­der­stand that there are ge­netic rea­sons for in­sulin re­sis­tance and overeat­ing, which only be­come ap­par­ent when you add car­bo­hy­drate. In­sulin re­sis­tance will not kill you as long as you don’t eat car­bo­hy­drates. It’s the car­bo­hy­drates that kill you – not the in­sulin re­sis­tance.

Q: Should peo­ple who don’t strug­gle with in­sulin re­sis­tance or di­a­betes also eat LCHF?

A: Eat­ing LCHF can’t be harm­ful be­cause it sticks to real, whole nu­tri­tion. We have fo­cused on car­bo­hy­drates be­ing toxic, but in fact we’ve taken pro­cessed food and chem­i­cals out of the diet as well. Be­cause we’ve re­moved so many other detri­men­tal in­gre­di­ents from our di­ets be­sides car­bo­hy­drates, we can’t pin­point what it is that is ben­e­fit­ing us most. But ba­si­cally, even if you are a healthy

weight and you don’t strug­gle with di­a­betes, fol­low­ing the LCHF diet will ben­e­fit your health.

Q: How long does fat adap­ta­tion take and how do you know it’s hap­pen­ing?

A: It takes around six weeks, ac­cord­ing to most stud­ies. I’ve been run­ning to the block house on the moun­tain for 40 years. I got slower and slower and fatter and fatter. I changed to LCHF and after about three weeks my times went right down. In six weeks, I im­proved my time by 40 min­utes. It was just un­be­liev­able. Then one day I just flew down the moun­tain; I felt like I was 40 again.

Q: So if you bant strictly for six weeks you should start feel­ing the change?

A: Yes, and you should have no symp­toms of car­bo­hy­drate with­drawal after six weeks. It’s the sugar ad­dic­tion that’s the real prob­lem; it’s what makes peo­ple feel sick.

Q: So what do you rec­om­mend for peo­ple with that kind of ad­dic­tion?

A: Eat fat; that’s the key. Find foods that you re­ally like. For my first three weeks I just ate the sim­plest foods – bil­tong, cheese, dairy and chicken breasts – lim­it­lessly. And that made it easy for me. I drank far too much milk then and con­tin­ued to drink sweet drinks after a run. That took a long time to change. The sugar was a huge prob­lem for me. It took me 14 months to stop adding sugar to my tea. I started with two tea­spoons, then one and a half, one, half, quar­ter and then it was lit­er­ally three grains. Then one day I said, ‘Why the hell am I putting th­ese three grains of sugar in my tea?’ It took another year or two to be ab­so­lutely rigid and have no de­sire for any­thing sweet. I had to ac­tively train my­self to as­so­ciate sug­ary, high-carb foods with a neg­a­tive re­sponse. So, if I see a muf­fin, crois­sant or a cooldrink, I see the face of the devil. I just think, ‘Why the hell would you want to eat that rub­bish?’ It’s very help­ful to think like that.

Q: What is your opin­ion on nut but­ters?

A: I love them but they need to be the right ones – there must be no sugar added. That’s what I eat for break­fast most days if I don’t have eggs. We have al­mond but­ter or macadamia nut but­ter on Life Bake Grain-free Bread. It’s amaz­ing. How she got so much fi­bre into that is a mir­a­cle; it’s amaz­ing for di­ges­tion.

Q: Is ke­to­sis es­sen­tial when bant­ing? Does it de­fine the LCHF diet?

A: No. If you’re in ke­to­sis, I know you’re eat­ing a low car­bo­hy­drate diet but it’s not the defin­ing fac­tor. Most peo­ple have ke­tone val­ues of 0 to 0.1 if they’re eat­ing a high car­bo­hy­drate diet. My ke­tone val­ues are up to about 1 to 2, but if I run a long dis­tance I might get up to 5. Even to stay at 3 most of the time is dif­fi­cult, but some peo­ple man­age that. You have to be eat­ing fat all the time and very lit­tle or almost no pro­tein. And it’s hard work! For me, there isn’t a sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ence from 1 to 5. But at 1, I feel the ben­e­fits.

Q: How do you tell if you are in ke­to­sis?

A: You need to test your blood us­ing a glu­come­ter, or urine us­ing ke­tone sticks.

Q: Do you think a high carb in­take can cause psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems?

A: Yes, I do. But that’s a whole new area. So many peo­ple are say­ing their chil­dren are do­ing much bet­ter. That’s one of the best tests be­cause chil­dren’s di­ets are high in carbs and pro­cessed food. They are ac­tive but be­come hy­per­ac­tive on sugar. When you re­move it, they’re dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

Q: Is LCHF safe for preg­nant and breast­feed­ing women?

A: Peo­ple say things like ‘low carb is dan­ger­ous for chil­dren’, which is ab­so­lute rub­bish. Your baby does not need car­bo­hy­drates, your baby needs fat and pro­tein. If you’re eat­ing 65% car­bo­hy­drate, the prob­a­bil­ity that your child will get pro­tein and fat mal­nu­tri­tion is very high. It’s sim­ple. You do not need car­bo­hy­drates for any­thing.

Q: Do you still cheat some­times?

A: Never. I never cheat be­cause I just don’t have the de­sire to. I want to get my glu­cose as low as pos­si­ble and if I cheat it just goes to hell. It’s just not worth it. And be­cause I’m di­a­betic, I have huge mo­ti­va­tion not to cheat and that ul­ti­mately makes it eas­ier. If I had to try Coke, I would spit it out at the first taste.

I now have no de­sire for any­thing sweet. But I had to ac­tively train my­self to as­so­ciate sug­ary, high-carb foods with a neg­a­tive re­sponse.

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